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As a follow-up to my earlier article, Shopping basket best practice from ASOS, I’ve taken a look at the updated ASOS checkout experience. It includes one change which has reduced their checkout abandonment rate by 50%.

The ASOS website delivers an excellent browsing and shopping experience, and I regularly feature examples from the retailer in my e-commerce best practice training courses.

The updated checkout continues this trend, as the earlier version certainly didn’t fit in well with their highly tuned shopping experience up to checkout.

This article will recap on what ASOS is doing well on its shopping basket, look at how it is handling new customer checkout, and the variety of persuasive checkout lessons we can take from them as well as identifying a few areas of improvement.

Why the ASOS shopping bag/basket works so well

asos checkout

To summarise the ASOS shopping bag in one word, it has to be transparency.

As I detailed in my earlier article, whether it is stock availability/reservation period, delivery options, delivery proposition, returns proposition, security measures or available payment options, visitors have immediate access to all this key information from their shopping bag.

This in turn increases the visitor's confidence to proceed to checkout whilst strengthening their intent to complete their purchase.

Straight to bag or stay on product page?

I always recommend to retailers who are looking to encourage visitors to buy multiple products, particularly fashion retailers like ASOS, that when visitors add a product to their bag they shouldn’t automatically be sent to their shopping bag.

Instead, it should be made absolutely clear to the visitor that the product has been added to their bag, and they have an intuitive link to view their bag if they wish. Take a look at Topshop for one of the best examples of this approach.

What this then means is that visitors have to make a conscious decision to visit their shopping bag.

By providing a clear and transparent mini-bag facility that is constantly accessible through the browsing journey, you can safely assume that when visitors decide to view their full shopping bag, they aren’t doing so to check what items they have in their bag or what their order total is. Instead they are pretty intent on ‘checking-out’.

So, when designing shopping baskets, retailers should be focusing their efforts on providing visitors with everything they need to know to confidently move in to the checkout process, with no un-answered questions at the back of their mind.

How ASOS persuades 50% more new customers to checkout

The revised first page of checkout delivers one crucial difference from the previous design. Whereas new customers were told that they had to create an account in order to checkout, the new design mentions absolutely nothing about account creation.

Instead, new customers are asked to simply click the continue button.

ASOS E-commerce Director James Hart has provided me with these insights in to how they achieved this huge improvement:

We didn’t fundamentally change any functionality or page flows at this point. One thing we did change was the login screen after lengthy split testing; the changes resulted in a 50% decrease in abandonment of the site at this page.

The new first page of checkout at ASOS

asos checkout

The previous first page of checkout at ASOS

asos checkout

While moderating user testing sessions on e-commerce sites, one thing I consistently hear from people is their un-willingness to go through an account creation process when they are forced to.

People talk about the number of steps they will have to go through, all the extra information they will have to provide, and the fact they haven’t got time to be creating an account.

What I find most fascinating is the responses I get from people when I ask them ‘what additional information do you expect you will need to provide if you create an account compared to a guest checkout option?’.

When they then actually start to break down the type of information they need to provide to checkout using either option, they are left with just one piece of additional information: choosing a password.

As you will see on the next section ASOS still forces new customers to create an account, yet it simply asks you to provide a password as part of the standard checkout requirements such as contact name and email address.

What is for many retailers a major usability barrier for new customers is turned on its head and simply made to be a 'no-brainer' part of the information entry process.

Persuasive checkout best practice techniques

Below I have highlighted some of the key elements of the ASOS checkout experience that follow best practice and keep visitors focussed on completing their purchase.

The checkout is enclosed

ASOS has for a number of years enclosed the checkout process, and the refined checkout is almost a perfect example of how focused a checkout can be when all distractions for the user are removed.

Security symbol is given prominence to enhance trust & assurance

asos checkout

In addition to the logo and title of the stage of process you are at, the only other information ASOS provides in the checkout header is the security authentication.

This underlines the importance that the retailer places on enhancing feelings of trust and security for visitors, and this is a lesson that many lesser known retailers can learn. If a brand as big and reputable as ASOS is doing this, how important is this approach for smaller retailers?

There is a clearly defined progress indicator

asos checkout

The progress indicator does all the right things:

  • The progress indicator isn’t part of a crowded checkout header.
  • It is absolutely clear which step you are on.
  • The number of steps are clearly defined.
  • It is clear that you will have the opportunity to review your order before confirming.

Useful information specific to certain fields is provided

asos checkout

At the side of some of the fields, such as password, email and gender, there is a concise bit of text to answer questions such as ‘why do you need my email address?’, ‘does my password have to contain a number?’ and ‘why do you need to know my gender?’.

This approach should ideally be used for the date of birth field, but I will get to that.

The primary call to action is absolutely clear

asos checkout

On each of the pages in checkout the primary call to action, in most cases continue to the next page, is the most prominent user action.

Whereas as some retailers still have competing calls to action during checkout, ASOS is intent on keeping the visitor focussed on moving through each stage of the process.

A facility to enter your address manually is also provided

asos checkout

One of the expected checkout facilities that users tell me about during e-commerce test sessions is a postcode look-up facility.

For the vast majority of visitors this facility will provide quick and intuitive way to enter their address. It also means that the quality of customer information is improved for the retailer.

A key issue which many postcode look-up facilities have is not providing an option for visitors to enter their address manually.

For reasons such as living on a new housing development and simply knowing that postcode look-up facilities aren’t able to locate your address correctly, a very small percentage of visitors will know that using a postcode look-up facility is pointless.

They should therefore have a simple way to expose the address fields so they can enter their address manually.

The ability to use your billing address for delivery

asos checkout

This is almost standard on most retail sites I am involved in, but it is worth re-iterating this point here. What ASOS also does well is taking the visitor straight to Payment if they choose to use their billing address for their delivery address, therefore providing a positive ‘quicker progress than expected’ experience for visitors.

The alternative to this approach is still taking visitors to the delivery page and only then asking if they want to use their billing address.

Payment fields are tailored based on your card choice

asos checkout

Something that I expect more retailers to adopt over the next few years is tailoring the payment fields visitors are asked to fill in based on their card type.

ASOS does this to some degree, although I would question the need to include optional fields. If they are optional then removing them completely will mean visitors have one less decision to make before proceeding.

The ability to fully review and edit your order before placing it

asos checkout

As is made clear in their progress indicator, ASOS provides visitors with the extremely important facility to review all their requirements and personal information prior to placing their order.

Whereas some retailers expect visitors to place their order straight after entering their payment information, ASOS separates what are the two most crucial decisions visitors make during checkout, whilst at the same time providing the flexibility, transparency and control to make changes if required.

Flexible delivery options provided as radio options

asos checkout

Not only does ASOS provide a range of flexible delivery options suitable to a range of visitor requirements and budgets, it also presents these as a list of radio button options.

The alternative approach to this is for them all to be in dropdown, but the ASOS approach not only makes it instantly clear what the options are, but seeing the options next to each other allows visitors to make a more informed decision on which delivery option is best for them (and I expect many visitors end up upgrading to a more expensive delivery option for just a few more pounds).

The ability to click back without seeing security messages or losing information

Although ASOS don't provide a specific back button during checkout, once again to keep the focus on persuading visitors to complete their purchase, there will be visitors who want to go back to previous page of checkout to check or alter information.

Whereas on many e-commerce sites this can result in the user seeing security warnings and questions about whether to resend data, from what I experienced ASOS have ensured that these nasty, conversion damaging messages don't appear to their visitors.

Opportunities for further improvement

In my experience there are a number of potential refinements that ASOS could make to provide a further improved checkout experience for visitors.

  • Provide greater transparency of the opt-out facility, and make this opt-in instead.
  • Use descriptive progress indicators, especially on the payment page ie. change Continue to ‘Review my Order’.
  • Make it clear why visitors have to provide their date of birth.
  • Use more humanly worded error messages that don’t tell the visitor off.
  • Provide a customer focused reason why you would like their mobile number ie. receive text alerts when your order is dispatched.
  • Provide the ability to go back to the delivery/billing page when you are on the payment page – in case visitors realise they need to make a change.

What? No telephone number, anywhere?

I recognise that ASOS doesn’t provide a telephone number at all on their site. Instead it relies on people using either social media, online help pages, or an enquiry form.

I would say that as the whole browsing and buying experience has been refined to such a degree, not least through a clear focus on what the user wants, ASOS has significantly reduced the number of potential reasons why visitors would need to speak to customer services.

What this means for what may only be a very small number of visitors who require help during checkout is that they are asked to complete the customer care enquiry form.

Knowing that they have already been told on their shopping bag their items will only be reserved for one hour, seeing that response times are up to four hours isn’t going to help too much.

Summary

Although it isn’t perfect (what checkout experience is?) I will certainly start to use elements of the improved ASOS checkout when I’m demonstrating to clients a live example of checkout best practice and the steps you can take to persuade visitors to place their order.

What do you think?

As with all my articles I am really keen to hear your feedback. What you think about the ASOS checkout, or checkout in general? What other sites provide a barrier free, best practice and persuasive checkout experience?

Paul Rouke

Published 30 November, 2011 by Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke is Founder & CEO at PRWD, author and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or hook up with him on LinkedIn.

37 more posts from this author

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Gary Baker

Gary Baker, Managing Director at Swagger & Swoon

ASOS does have a really good checkout, so I am surprised it's taken them so long to remove the account creation section. It's hardly a new development to just have the password added to the normal checkout process - we've been doing that for years! That said, our own user testing still showed some irritation with the password requirement, so it's not foolproof yet. Also, there may not actually be a need to ask for gender - just by adding a Title selection for Mr, Mrs, Miss etc you can identify their gender without having another intrusive question during checkout.

One thing I have noticed with ASOS is that if you start the checkout, and then return to the site later, it automatically takes you to the checkout again rather than to the homepage. It's actually quite difficult to get back to the site content again. Not sure if that's a bug or a feature, but this was unexpected and I can imagine it's a little confusing for some people.

about 5 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

Hi Paul

I'm quite staggered that businesses of the stature of ASOS still require people to register when it's so well documented this is a barrier to conversion.

Completely agree that they're asking for too much info as well: DOB and mobile number should be kept out of this IMO, and left as entirely discretionary at a later stage.

To add to your list of improvements: perhaps they would be better served to ask for a password after the order is completed.

Good post, thanks,
Mark.

about 5 years ago

Carlton Jefferis

Carlton Jefferis, CEO & Founder at Gettus!

Thanks for a great critique, Paul, and full credit to James Hart for providing that 50% stat which really validates their approach.

The progress indicator is one of the simplest and most elegant I've seen. In fact I think there's much to learn from the overall simplicity of the checkout; decluttered, no distractions, minimal fields and short helpful copy. Some of this makes even the mighty Amazon look a little out-of-touch although I'm sure their multivariate testing and UX team know precisely what they're doing!

By contrast I was ordering from the Apple Online Store earlier in the week and it reminded me how poor their checkout was. They have all these talented people who build great products, packaged and marketed beautifully, but then the Online Store checkout experience is awful. It's all on one page in collapsible sections. And where is the 'Place order' button?! Did they ever think about it from a customer's perspective? On another occasion I watched my father-in-law completely abandon his purchase and head down to the nearest Apple Retail Store because the experience was so unintuitive. They really need to invest a bit of that talent in their own checkout process and come up with something as innovative and "magical" as the products they sell.

about 5 years ago

Seema Kumari

Seema Kumari, Head of Digital Marketing at Hearst Magazines

Great article- I’m a huge fan of asos in every way and love their “save for later” functionality, however they need to make this a richer experience and send an email informing me I have several hundred pounds worth of items sitting in my saved basket and not just remove them after 30 days! Revenue tip 2- asos know what I buy, the size, the brand, the colours so why have I never received a targeted email from them?

about 5 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

Okay, yes, I see they've completely removed that barrier now - good.
I will actually confess I've never used the site until 5 minutes ago, having been spoiled by kind clients to date where clothes are concerned.
I'm still of the opinion that the first stage could be optimised further to give them a higher completion rate - it will be interesting to hear how the process develops over time.

about 5 years ago

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Lee Brown

Interesting article. I still feel on balance its better to force account creation and this seems a good step forward. One thing I would say is that I'm surprised by a 5 stage checkout though.

about 5 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

Thanks to you for your comments so far.

@Gary - perhaps they felt that the combination of them being a recognised, trusted brand, the fact that new customers are likely to want to shop there again, plus providing the customer benefits of creating an account, would be enough for new customers to be happy to proceed. Of course this all proved to be completely incorrect as the 50% reduction in abandonment rate testifies.

With regards the gender question, you make a good point that this can be achieved by asking for the customers title, although the important tailoring of customers experience would probably need further clarification, as it would then indicate that you would have a different experience if you were a miss compared to Mrs, for example.

I must say I didn't experience what you did whilst I was reviewing the checkout for this article, but it could be something they need to address.

@Mark - you make a good point about whether asking for the likes of DOB up front is necessary, especially when they don't tell you why they require you to provide this. With regards asking new customers to choose a password at the end of a chechkout is a very successful approach that one of our clients Speedo use. Not only have they remove the account creation barrier from the start of checkout but they get 75% of new customers choosing to create an account at the end - a win win situation.

about 5 years ago

Daniel Solving

Daniel Solving, Account Manager at Dear Friends

Hi,

Thanks for an excellent post. Somethings that act up for me on the site is for instance that even though I am logged in, I get the log in dialogue when going to checkout. Do not know if it is a caching issue or what.

Also, when logging in, I am sent directly to the fourth step in the process where I am asked to enter my payment information. Here I believe that it would be helpful to present information gathered from my account to complete previous steps. I do feel a bit reluctant to enter my payment information without knowing what is said about deliver and billing for instance.

Thanks,
.d

about 5 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

Hi Paul

Interestingly, in tests I know of, only 60% ish of people decided to add a password after the order was complete.

As always though, there are good and bad ways of asking people to do things - the key is to test to find the most persuasive.

Thanks,
Mark.

about 5 years ago

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Sharan Rehal Gandhi

Regarding DOB, have a look at how Boden handle this when creating a new account.

They have a "Mind your own business, I'll keep my date of birth to myself" option, and also a link explaining why they ask for your DOB.

...transparent and a fun style of writing.

about 5 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@Carlton - thanks for your feedback & extensive comments, glad you liked the article and as you say it was great to get the insights from James.

I haven't seen the Apple checkout, it sounds like its worth a look to maybe do some contrasting with the ASOS checkout!

In terms of the simplicity, especially for checkout, as I mentioned in my article, when you have as good a browsing experience and transparent shopping bag as ASOS do, you can be pretty damn ruthless when it comes to stripping away content & distractions when visitors get to checkout. Prominent security & clear progress indicator apart, the real focus of the pages should be the fields that visitors need to fill in (along with a few other elements as identified) & a nice big call to action.

@Seema - thanks for your comments, it looks like you could have identified some very useful opportunities for ASOS to improve the user experience for existing customers as well as encouraging some more customers to order at least some of what they have added to their save list.

I must say I do really like their recently upgraded save for later feature, it adds a new personalised layer to the browsing experience which very few fashion retailers are currently providing.

about 5 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@Daniel - thanks for your comments and gald you enjoyed the article. I know ASOS do a significant amount of user research and testing, but whether the specific issues and concerns you have raised have been identified or experienced remains to be seen.

On your point about being taken straight to the payment page, I know I have recommended that the continue button is changed to be more descriptive & informative, so in this case it would be 'review your order' or similar to make it clear that you have the opportunity to review your addresses & delivery options (which you choose anyway on this next page).

Do you feel this would provide you with a bit more confidence/assurance on the payment page, knowing that you definetly have the opportunity to review all your information?

@Mark - thanks for your additional comments on the typical conversion rate you see when new customers are asked to enter a password at the end of checkout. As you rightly say there are extremely different ways of presenting the order confirmation page in order to encourage/persuade the customers to enter a password. In the case of our client Speedo, they make the whole focus of the order confirmation page around the account creation requirement, making it very benefit led whilst focussing the customer on the password field.

As you say, testing is key too in order to determine the most effective solution.

@Sharan - thanks for the Boden example. There is a lot to be said about retailers demonstrating personality above and beyond standard messaging, and this sounds like a good one.

about 5 years ago

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Lyanba

Unfortunately the same can't be said about their mCommerce checkout (on iOS anyway). Shockingly bad when you come type your CV2 number in! Basically you can't so you can't proceed with the transaction. Epic fail!

about 5 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

Hi Paul
It's always interesting to hear that somebody 'does a lot of testing', although this in itself is not a guarantee of success - testing the right things is the important factor.
In this case, for example, I'd be really interested to hear what took them so long to conclude that getting rid of the registration element would improve completion so radically when it was so well documented that it is a barrier to first time purchase.

I expect ASOS will have a big eye on making the 2nd 3rd and subsequent purchases easier, but they must be kicking themselves after discovering how many first timers they have been losing over many years.

I'd also like to add in-line validation to your list of opportunities for further improvement, if I may be so bold.

Mark.

about 5 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@Lyanba - thanks for sharing your experience of their mCommerce checkout. Something doesn't sound too goo there!

@Mark - thanks for your additional comments. As you say there has certainly been what could be a large amount of lost sales over the period that their old checkout entry page was in place.

In terms of testing, I am aware that they did a significant amount of testing (following customer research) of what I earlier this year described as one of the most best practice driven shopping bags I have seen. I'd be keen to get your comments on that article if your get chance, and feel free to be as bold as you can!

almost 5 years ago

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David

Did I miss anything or did they simply implement a bog standard checkout? The only new bit was the diversion for the payment page. In all honesty @ my pervious employer no other checkout would have passed internal QC. So was there something new?

almost 5 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@David - thanks for your comments. You didn't miss anything, ASOS haven't redesigned their checkout, they have simply refined parts of the user interface, including the subtle but key changes to wording on the first stage. Note they are still forcing account creation but it is delivered in such a way that the main barrier that used to exist has been removed.

You will be surprised at the number of retailers who still force registration/account creation (a recent talk at Conversion Conference from the Global Research Manager at Paypal demonstrated just this, especially US retailers), and there are still many retailers who could learn tips and techniques from how ASOS currently deliver their checkout process - hence why I wrote this article.

almost 5 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

Hi Paul

I checked back and did chip in on that one, although I seem to have rambled on about checkout issues a bit too.
Will endeavour to stay focused on the question in future, although my new point does relate more to this post : )

I think their basket is really good -and I agree with you that this is no place for distractions of any kind such as merchandising, but there's one issue I can see that will possibly impact on the checkout completion rate.

The checkout is enclosed, and rightly so, but once into the checkout process there's no trace of the order itself, no assurances, and no phone number.

If someone becomes distracted and forgets the exact detail of what they've ordered then they've either got to use the browser arrows or history to go back, which may in turn lead to annoyance or frustration, and the chance of a lost sale.

So, to add a further suggestion for improvement: a small summary of the order should be kept visible right through the checkout.

Cheers,
Mark.

almost 5 years ago

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Gareth

Are there any benchmarks available for checkout completion rates?

Once someone hits our checkout page we achieve a conversion rate in the high 80%s - how do others compare?

We have not required registration or password for several years - but we do ask customers to select a password at the 'success' page before showing them the order tracking page which effectively results in 100% account creation.

almost 5 years ago

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Quentin Blondé

Having a registration process before you are able to place an order is the n°1 conversion killer. Still can't understand why regular, non private shops, use them...

almost 5 years ago

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marco

Great article and nice comments as well, the debate it's great but what I don't understand is why you guys commenting the article don't provide facts

almost 5 years ago

Daniel Solving

Daniel Solving, Account Manager at Dear Friends

@Paul - Lazy on the response here, but yes, a more descriptive button would be more assuring.

Thanks.

.d

almost 5 years ago

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Ross Curzon-Butler, CEO at Bravo6 Ltd

I find it interesting that they leave out a telephone number. I think this is more to do with their "apparent" demographic and is not something that should be replicated by all e-commerce sites. The notion that any additional communication is done via social media only heightens that perception.

When dealing with other demographics I'm aware that some people still don't trust handing over details over the web and would instead prefer to call someone to place an order or find out more details.

I think overall though a very insightful article. Many thanks

almost 5 years ago

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Srdjan Stambuk, E-commerce Director at BZT Fashion AB

Great article and good news for them , ASOS will have to do a much better job now as competition is getting fiercer and coming to UK, new House of Fraser and Zalando will be very active... I think they can still improve their process by at least 10% easy and probably by 20% with some heavier modification , it is very complex and confusing unless they have super high numbers of member and they are all logged in.

I would say even with improvements 5 out of 10

Also, not having a phone number is super turn off, especially in Germany and US where they have no chance if going that way, i would never buy and I know them as reliable from WOM :)

one easter egg though - check error message, def a winner there

https://skitch.com/srdjanstambuk/gqjpp/about-you-asos

almost 5 years ago

Dean Taylor

Dean Taylor, Head of Creative at BT Fresca

Very interesting article - thank you!

Order summary is something I think ought to be present throughout. Interesting that Asos hold it back for one page and then don't include photos. Was this also A/B tested, do you know?

almost 5 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@Mark - it's an interesting area of providing a consistently available summary of your bag contents during checkout, specifically for multi-page checkouts. One thing that ASOS at least provide is a clear indication that customers have the option of reviewing their order before committing to purchase. As indicated in the article you also have flexible editing options on this page.

Do you have any specific examples of retailers providing a consistent order summary during a multi-step checkout?

@Gareth - thanks for your comments and insights. 100% of new customers choosing to create an account at the end of the checkout process is fantastic, especially knowing that you haven't lost potential customers at the start of checkout. Our client Speedo gets around 75% of new customers choosing to create an account by entering a password on the order confirmation page.

almost 5 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@Ross - thanks for joining in the discussion. I agree that for Ecommerce sites in general, especially less mainstream ones, providing clear customer service details in checkout is very important and provides the transparency & assurance that users look for when considering ordering for the first time.

@Dean - thanks for your comment. I'm not aware what specific testing they have carried out to date on the elements of the order review page. Do you have examples of your clients who provide access to your shopping bag contents on each page of a multi-page checkout process, out of interest?

almost 5 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

Hi Paul

I have to admit I didn't go that far in, but someone could easily be distracted and forget the exact detail of their order even on that first page.

I'll keep my eye out for a good example of someone that does this, but the sites I just checked - including Debenhams, unfortunately do not.

Your reply implies that you don't know of anyone either - is that the case? I find it hard to believe if so, seems like such a logical thing to do.

Thanks,
Mark.

almost 5 years ago

Albie Attias

Albie Attias, Ecommerce Director at King of Servers Ltd

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on whether the following change would improve checkout step 1 Paul.

1. Ditch the 2 columns for existing & new customers in favour of a single (Amazon style) column catering for both customer types. You'd capture the email address for both types and use a radio button to check new vs returning, capturing the password for existing customers only.

Rationale:

a) I've read about usability studies that showed people often don't read form labels and dive straight into filling out the form fields. I wonder how many new customers would enter their email address & password?

b) Capturing the email address in step 1 means more people who abandon their baskets during checkout can be targeted via email campaigns. Otherwise you can only reach a smaller subset of people who complete the first 2 checkout stages.

almost 5 years ago

Albie Attias

Albie Attias, Ecommerce Director at King of Servers Ltd

Also - inline field validation is another opportunity to 'go one better'. Nothing worse than filling in a whole page of fields & clicking continue only to be told about errors. Javascript can handle all these checks in situ.

almost 5 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@Mark - of the Ecommerce sites I have either been involved in or taken a look at recently, no I don't have any examples of this. This is surprising but at the same time an indication that it isn't something that consumers come to expect currently.

@Albie - thanks for joining in the discussion. You raise a very interesting a valid point about the main recommended alternative experience for the 1st stage of checkout.

When I've been moderating user testing sessions I have seen users blindly start entering their email address at this stage as you have referred to, although typically there are 3 checkout options ie login, create account or guest checkout, compared to this minimal approach provided by ASOS. With their approach they are certainly limiting the potential of this happening. You raise a very valid point about capturing the visitors email address up front to enable checkout abandonment emails to be triggered if necessary. With the 1st step of checkout for new customers requiring hardly any thought ie click the button to continue, this places more emphasis on ensuring the next page has a high completion rate to ensure you capture the persons email address.

What I would say is watch this space as I very much doubt ASOS will be standing still with regards the flow & experience of their checkout!

almost 5 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

Hi Paul

It's a pretty simple test to run, but if nobody thinks customers expect it then it won't make it on to the plan.
Someone must first hypothesise that it might just help things - if and when that happens I'd be keen to hear the results.

Thanks,
Mark.

almost 5 years ago

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Marc Duke

Very interesting read, not sure if you were aware of some other great work Asos has done in terms of business process efficiency
http://www.celaton.com/customers/asos-com/

Thanks

Marc

almost 5 years ago

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James Young

I'm a little confused like David (8:21AM on 6th December 2011), all that seems to be on display is a very standard, reasonably designed checkout process with the only difference from many sites being the call to action on the new customer account creation/login page.

It's fascinating that this incredibly minor change in wording (followed by what appears to be the same data collection for new customers as most other sites) would account for an improvement of the 50% mentioned here though.

I assume though I'm missing something obvious or I simply haven't experienced what must have been a truly horrific checkout process before if such a standard one now accounts for such a big improvement.

Sorry if it sounds like I'm doubting the figures here, I fear I've misread something but I can't see what :)

J.

almost 5 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@James - thanks for your comments.

In response, I wasn't positioning ASOS as delivering an innovative checkout that you can hardly see elsewhere. Instead I was using their site as a superb example of many best practice techniques that retailers can and do adopt for their checkout.

With regards the 50% reduction in abandonment rate specifically on the login/continue page due to the change of wording and simplification of the new customer checkout option, although from an implementation perspective this isn't a major redevelopment, from a users perspective, being forced to create an account/register in order to checkout for the first is and will continue to be a major barrier for users. I see this all the time when conducting user testing sessions - the perception people have of account creation taking much longer than a guest checkout option is fascinating.

As ASOS have a variety of fashion competitors online, new customers were clearly being put off previously and would therefore have shopped elsewhere on sites that didn't force them to create an account.

In conclusion you haven't missed anything, the article details the insights that ASOS provided me.

Thanks again for questioning the figures etc!

almost 5 years ago

Albie Attias

Albie Attias, Ecommerce Director at King of Servers Ltd

Paul, do you know how ASOS handle 3d secure? Would be interesting to see a post devoted to the best practice approach to integrating 3d secure to the checkout. Also, dealing with declined payment authorisations in a way that's both user friendly and not supportive to fraudsters is another topic that doesn't seem to have got much coverage at the moment.

almost 5 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@Albie - I don't actually, and yes you make a good point about the lack of articles and best practice for handling 3d secure and declined payment authorisation.

almost 5 years ago

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Sean Owens

I have never understood the need to have a create account on checkouts. Most users just groan when they see a password screen as its another password to remember among the 100 others they use already. I see M&M direct have removed the option of the formal account creation completely.

over 4 years ago

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Marlowe

Excellent blog you have got here.. It's hard to find high quality writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

about 4 years ago

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FK

Very well written review. I have checked some other retail eCommerce sites and compared with that of Asos, and I must confess Asos certainly stands out tall among the rest. Do you think you could do a site review for Wallis? Their current eCommerce site is quite unimpressive :(

about 4 years ago

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Anu

Wanted to chime in with another consideration on the reason why users may not want to use the account creation and use goest checkout. How many times have you created an account only to forget the password? If I have an account, but don't remember the password or what my username is going through the whole "Forgot password" and "Forget Username" process is a beating no matter how simple it is. Guest checkout usually allows me to forgo that process - although not always. Have you heard that in your user experience studies?

almost 4 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@Anu - thanks for your feedback. You are right in pointing out about the 'lost password' experience not being one that users generally relish doing. It is one of the reasons sighted as to why they don't like creating an account, although this is much rarer than comments around the expected length and complexity of account creation - as well as their expectations that this will lead to them getting spammed with lots of emails from the retailer or their partners.

almost 4 years ago

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abc

I really liked few items and I was just to buy, as I am first time customer it is asking me for (which I think is) "too much" or "unnecessary information".
1)Date of birth is in an invalid format
2)Gender has not been selected
Forcing me to enter my information makes me feel fishy about the site, so I am skipping it. I am 100% sure there are tons of people who think same. I hope they improve the site and make it general like most of other shopping sites. Thanks!

almost 4 years ago

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equagmems

Всем привет! Вы всегда уверены что правы?

almost 4 years ago

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def

Like poster above, hit the "date of birth" field and went "oh-oh". Why do they need DOB for a GBP 20 CC transaction? BIG red flag. Went elsewhere.

over 3 years ago

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